Following the success of a revolutionary zombie video game, a movie was born. In 2002, the first Resident Evil film was released, creating a sizable following and a unique take on the apocalyptic viral zombie outbreak that seems to fascinate the human mind. Since then, every few years a new movie of the series is released. That is until now.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is slated to be the finale for this violent guilty pleasure. The question is whether or not this film securely wraps up the series as a whole or leaves a mess of tangled ends that has the viewers questioning why they stuck with it these 15 years.
For those unfamiliar with the ongoing sequence of zombie filled action mixed with the fear of biological weaponry, this is the 6th installment. It takes place in a seemingly close future in which a deadly bio weapon in the form of a zombie virus, called the T-Virus, was released and spread throughout the world. It is classified as a horror film due to the graphic nature of the film in gore and classified as sci-fi due to its apocalyptic subject matter. It’s rated R in terms of language and violence.
The film stars Milla Jovovich as the main protagonist by the name of Alice. Some time after the events of the last film, Alice awakens in a ruined White House after an obvious betrayal by Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts). She is then contacted by the Red Queen (Ever Anderson), the AI for the Umbrella Corporation, who released the virus some time prior. She is informed that she wants to help Alice stop the virus and that an airborne cure exists, but she must return to the Umbrella Headquarters, dubbed the Hive. On her journey she runs into old enemies, such as Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen), as well as an old friend Claire (Ali Larter) and her group of survivors, one of which by the name of Abigail played by the new hit actress Ruby Rose. Alice must venture forth in hopes of eradicating the T-Virus, which may cost her her life. However, the Hive is an important location for Umbrella, will she survive her mission? Could she learn something about herself and the corporation, as well as those she’s traveling with? Can she do what needs to be done when the time comes?
I can think of no complaint in terms of the cast. Milla Jovovich did a great job, as she is par with her career. Acting out screams of physical pain as well as anguish is nothing to scoff at. The action scenes of the film could be intense, in both fighting scenes with other humans and the CG’d (computer-generated) infected creatures. Iain Glen also did a phenomenal job as a religious zealot attempting to “cleanse the Earth” and start anew. Ruby Rose, though her part was semi-minor in terms of plot, was also a refreshing sight to see in the film. She completely perfected the greasy mechanic with a bad attitude role.
While CG is never perfect, many of the creatures that appear in the film are genuinely unpleasant to look at. They are by no means perfectly realistic, but not much is in many zombie-virus films. The makeup and injuries that were depicted in the film were very well done. They did have normal walking zombies done up in full costume and makeup, and they were rather convincing. This was especially so during the many combat scenes of the movie. At one point, a character has a grenade go off in his pocket, and that was pretty darn gross.
My main complaint for this film is it as an ending. The Resident Evil films have been a pretty long running series and I suppose I expected more from their final installment. While it did feel nostalgic in returning to the site of the first film (Raccoon City), I was disappointed to only see one familiar face aside from Alice. While it’s no secret that many characters perish in this gore-filled zombie flick, there are still several that are left alive the last we sawthem in previous installments. There were no goodbyes said to these characters. When the previous film ended, we simply never hear from them again. We are left to create our own assumptions as they are never clearly addressed at any point in this last film.
If a film is going to be the last, I want a little more cleaning up of straggling ends. I found it especially irritating at the end of the previous movie, when we were left with Alice, Leon, a small girl, Ava, Raine, and Jill on the roof of the White House. However, Alice awakens alone in rubble and seems to have no concern as to where her friends are nor does she make an attempt to find them. These characters are simply never addressed again. The main plot and Alice have a somewhat cohesive ending, however it still feels open. Another movie could still come about after this conclusion to the series, which is exactly not how a “final chapter” should leave you.
Overall, I enjoyed the film on a similar level that I enjoyed its predecessors. It was entertaining and scary. It was action filled. It made you nervous. It made you sad, happy, mad. As a film, I would give it a 7/10. However, for a finale to a long running sequence of films, it was lackluster. It fell flat. It wouldn’t be surprising for another movie to be in the works following this supposed last chapter. Every long running series should take notes on how Resident Evil ended this procession of movies and then take all of those notes and put them in the DO NOT DO column of their notebooks. I can say it was an entertaining movie but I can not say in good conscience that the finale was worthwhile. See the movie as an entertaining standalone, but don’t try to connect your old favorite characters to it. You’ll only walk away with emptiness and a boatload of unanswered questions.